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Old 01-01-2013, 14:37   #1
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Roadstead Anchoring

I hesitated before deciding to post this link


for the usual reasons, but I think there are useful lessons.

I'm not in a position to criticise the specific actions here - I don't think anybody is, who doesn't know the backstory - but I would like to try and make some general points, some of which I think this clip illustrates

1) Anchoring in open roadsteads (provided there's good holding) is probably more uncomfortable but less dangerous than most people assume. For instance, the vessel in the picture, despite the conditions* is not dragging or snatching. There are ways to alleviate snatching if it is a risk.
(*although it's clearly not a "storm", except perhaps in youTubespeak –there may be a storm on its way)

2) Anchoring in open roadsteads may be preferable to the alternatives: particularly crossing a dangerous river bar to attain a "safe" anchorage
(there is no alternative at Pitcairn)

3) It's not a good idea to leave such a vessel unattended, and whoever is onboard should be strong and savvy enough to move the vessel without external help (this latter point is difficult on large boats, and a counsel of perfection ... it may be overridden, say if there's a medical emergency). If there had been just one person onboard to take a line, the reboarding would been less dangerous

4) Whether or not the vessel is left unattended there MUST be several ways for a waterlogged person overboard to get on board safely – even if it requires rigging up rope ladders or improvising scrambling nets.

To anyone disposed to assume the guy in the clip is any sort of weakling, it's worth noting how quickly he was able to get himself back onto the inflatable each time, although he must have been getting tired.

5) A well-handled inflatable with a reliable outboard is surprisingly competent. The prop however is very risky to any swimmer.
It might have been preferable to grapple the boat near the bow using an improvised grappling hook, and then lain alongside abeam (on a long line) with the engine out of gear while attempting to board. Not having been there, it's hard to know whether this would have been practicable.
(A second grapple up into the rig when lying alongside, with a knotted line, might be helpful if the freeboard is really problematic)

6) Anyone travelling between ship and shore in marginal conditions should carry their own flippers / swim fins (ideally in a 'scabbard' worn as a backpack) as well as a buoyancy aid.

Better than a buoyancy aid is a thick wetsuit with extra padding at knees and elbows, and perhaps even a helmet. If the worst happens, you may have to fight your way onto dry land over rocks.

It is not wise to rely on a dinghy or a motor, especially in situations when the nearest land to leeward is a long way off.

7) It's a good idea to leave plenty of room to leeward (even if the wind shifts to the worst direction) so that you can get your anchor on board in time. Remember this may require weighing with something along the lines of a sailing ship's voyol block and messengers and nippers, if the windlass is inoperable or inadequate.

As a last resort, you may have to buoy, cut and run, and hopefully return in better conditions to retrieve your gear. The bitter end of the chain should be secured to a rope pendant long enough to come out of the locker onto the foredeck.
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Old 01-01-2013, 14:51   #2
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Re: Roadstead anchoring

ABYC Standard H-41 “Reboarding Means, Ladders Handholds, Rails and Lifelines” requires ladders to be deployable by the person in the water unassisted.

I didn't see a reboarding ladder anywhere.
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Old 01-01-2013, 15:21   #3
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Re: Roadstead anchoring

Last resort, a better option maybe?
I think it was mentioned some time ago by a member here to have a couple of hundred feet of floating Ski-rope attached at the bitter end, it allows you to simply cut the bitter end and let the Ski-rope feed out.

The beauty of this system is there is no buoy to get caught in the deployment, the ski rope floats and is easy to retrieve at a later date.

We have incorporated it and have tried it out in light conditions 'tis a good option.
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Old 01-01-2013, 15:23   #4
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Re: Roadstead anchoring

Nasty! I have a couple of different rope-type ladders that could be left over the side in bad conditions and make boarding somewhat easier. A lot of us approach from the stern and go onboard that way, but in those conditions you would have to be really careful not to go under the stern and get hammered. I think they would have been better off to have tried to tie the dinghy on, maybe via a center cleat, before trying to board.
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Old 01-01-2013, 18:51   #5
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Re: Roadstead Anchoring

I doubt that the conditions at Pitcairn Island are going to be typical. Chuck
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Old 01-01-2013, 19:07   #6
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Re: Roadstead Anchoring

This event was discussed just before Xmas
Back to the Mother Ship in Rough Seas
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Old 11-01-2013, 17:10   #7
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Re: Roadstead Anchoring

Thanks Pelagic, I missed that
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Old 30-03-2013, 05:42   #8
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Re: Roadstead Anchoring

My overriding need, having watched this clip, was to check whether I would have the faintest prospect of managing to pull up, in the way the guy in the clip struggled to do.

The answer was a resounding no. I couldn't even do one pullup from straight-armed.

So I set myself the target of being able to do five in a row, and by starting with bent arms (standing on a box) and working up to twenty in a row, several times a day, I found after three or four weeks I could manage my target from straight armed.

Now I do so once a day, to keep the improved capacity usable.

However .... on my way to my bunk, having washed, I just went to do that with (as it happened) wet hands.

Shock horror: I could barely manage one.

And that's dry, and lightly clothed.

<sigh> .... back to the chinning bar ......
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Old 30-03-2013, 07:44   #9
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Re: Roadstead Anchoring

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Troup View Post
My overriding need, having watched this clip, was to check whether I would have the faintest prospect of managing to pull up, in the way the guy in the clip struggled to do.

The answer was a resounding no. I couldn't even do one pullup from straight-armed.

So I set myself the target of being able to do five in a row, and by starting with bent arms (standing on a box) and working up to twenty in a row, several times a day, I found after three or four weeks I could manage my target from straight armed.

Now I do so once a day, to keep the improved capacity usable.

However .... on my way to my bunk, having washed, I just went to do that with (as it happened) wet hands.

Shock horror: I could barely manage one.

And that's dry, and lightly clothed.

<sigh> .... back to the chinning bar ......
Old age creeps upon us all. I can remember, back in the day, when it was a point of pride when water skiing, for me to be able to just grab the side of the boat, and easily hoist myself over the side, even when hampered by a life jacket.

I could still do ten pullups as late as 36 years old (because we were tested where I worked). Now, you've hit a nerve. I'm 55 and I probably couldn't do one, especially wet and hanging from the side of a boat.

Like you, I have decided it is time to rectify that.
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Old 30-03-2013, 08:48   #10
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Re: Roadstead Anchoring

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Originally Posted by Andrew Troup View Post
For instance, the vessel in the picture, despite the conditions* is not dragging or snatching. There are ways to alleviate snatching if it is a risk.
Good video. Thanks for posting. On close inspection I see a taut anchor chain and a slack line hanging from the bow. Might be that the snubber snapped.
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Old 30-03-2013, 09:42   #11
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Re: Roadstead Anchoring

Except for the portlights, there wasn't a foothold. We have a 3-inch wide splash rail about 18 inches below the deck. If you can grab anything on the boat you can step on the rail. The stern is impossible even in calm weather with the overhang and projection.
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Old 31-03-2013, 17:30   #12
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Re: Roadstead Anchoring

I think it was on another forum that one of the crew members said that the windlass was damaged in that event. If the windlass was damaged, I wonder how close they came to snapping the chain? The snubber probably broke(chafed through) and there was no more stretch. A lot of lessons in that video._____Grant.
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Old 31-03-2013, 18:43   #13
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Re: Roadstead Anchoring

Thanks for the extra info. Very informative.

I once talked to a guy who told me of an interesting alternative to using snubbers, but I forget whether it drew on his own experience, or was about someone he'd sailed with.

I think the yacht in the story (sailboat in US parlance) was called "Bluejacket"
It was anchored in that same Pitcairn roadstead for several days, and he had to go ashore.

I gather he was alone on board.

He had a big (seriously big) inflatable fishing float with him, which he used at the end of the main chain, having paid out the entire scope (IIRC)

Then he tethered to the float, using several lines and good chafing gear (or 2 smaller chains, would seem preferable to me).

This was before the use of snubbers became popular, but I think his idea still has its place. The buoy gets pulled underwater before any serious load comes on the bow,
considerably softening the jolt. He liked it for the additional reason that from any high point on that side of the island he could gauge exactly how much strain was on the anchor.

I've never had to anchor at Pitcairn, but I had previously stayed a couple of nights at a not dissimilar anchorage not far away, in Rada Vinapu at Rapanui, which was interesting ... but I filed the idea away for roadstead situations.

I think an even better alternative to snubbing lines, for prolonged anchoring in a roadstead exposed to oceanic swell trains, (especially if circumstances dictate leaving nobody aboard) would be to alternate several smaller floats (but still substantial, in relation to the chain weight) with several weights or kellets, of similar weight to the buoyancy of the floats.

The idea is to create a vertical zig-zag which takes considerable strain before it will render perfectly straight, on top of the catenary which a heavy already chain provides in deep water.

Effectively the Bluejacket idea, but spaced along the chain. And arguably with no adverse impact on scope.
I'm eternally grateful to micah (with a numerical suffix I forget - if it was a yacht name, I would remember! ;-) on this forum for providing the seed for this idea.

Unlike snubbers, there are no wearing parts.

However I need to ponder it some more and do some calcs, because the zigzag idea may actually be more suited to shallow water, and the single big float is possibly still ideal in deep water. Provided, of course, that you have such a thing!
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Old 31-03-2013, 19:43   #14
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Re: Roadstead Anchoring

Here's the thread gjordan was thinking of.

There's a further post explaining what happened next, further down the thread than the one linked to

Getting Aboard in the Rough?
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Old 31-03-2013, 20:49   #15
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Re: Roadstead Anchoring

All I can say is IF I anchored in a place like that ! I would sure never leave the boat with no one aboard ! sounds and looks like a damn fool thing to do ! That's just my 2 cents and that's about all it's worth, but that's a POOR anchorage always has been and always will be ! the weather there is Poor to worse most all the time !!
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